CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Nov. 7, 2013) – After months of preparation and preseason workouts, the ETSU men’s basketball team will launch its 2013-14 season Friday evening, heading on the road to take on Conference USA foe Charlotte.
Tip inside Halton Arena is set for 7:30 p.m., and the game can be heard on the Buccaneer Sports Network’s family of radio stations, as well as on the worldwide web.
For the Buccaneers, they will be looking to improve on a 3-1 all-time record against the 49ers, which includes a last-second 70-69 victory thanks to a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Jarvis Jones (Memphis) back in 2011. Meanwhile, Charlotte – a team that won 21 games last season – will be trying to even the score with the Buccaneers.
The festivities will begin early for ETSU fans and alumni on Friday night, as the ETSU National Alumni Association will host a special pre-game event at the Hickory Tavern located on Harris Corners Parkway. This Dutch treat event is set to begin at 5 p.m.
For more on Friday’s matchup, read the game notes below or click on the game notes link to the right. For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2013-14 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.
We are “ETSU”
The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics would like to ask both the print and broadcast media to honor our request to be called “ETSU” ... East Tennessee State in first reference is acceptable, but subsequent references should be ETSU ... On TV graphics please use ETSU ... Our nickname is the Buccaneers, but Bucs is also acceptable.
The ETSU men’s basketball program was glad to see the 2012-13 campaign come to an end, following a season which saw the team face multiple obstacles and challenges -- such as a brutal schedule that featured the likes of North Carolina, Arizona, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Hawaii ... Other issues for the team included senior post Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.) missing the season with ankle injury that he suffered in the preseason, senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) being academically ineligible for the first two months of the year, and two other senior guards who were expected to be major contributors were dismissed from the team in early November for violations of team rules … This left head coach Murry Bartow and his coaching staff with a young, inexperienced group of underclassmen, several true freshmen, one redshirt freshman and a pair of junior college transfers … Those obstacles proved to be tough to overcome, as the Buccaneers posted a 10-22 record and finished 8-10 in Atlantic Sun Conference play … It was the toughest campaign in Bartow’s 10 seasons at ETSU, a tenure that has produced many championships, postseason tournament appearances and 20-win campaigns … In all, Bartow’s teams have earned three NCAA Tournament invitations (2004, 2009 and 2010), one NIT appearance (2007), and one CIT berth (2011), and the Bucs have eclipsed 20 wins five times. … This year, the Bucs will once again take to the floor with a young squad made up of several new faces … In fact, despite the return of the 6-fooot-9 Poderis, the Bucs have just five players back this season who played significant minutes a year ago.
The series versus Charlotte
The Bucs are currently 3-1 all-time against the 49ers, having started the series back in 1971 and last playing in 2011 ... ETSU has won the last three meetings, including a 96-80 win over Charlotte in 1991 and a last-second 70-69 victory back in 2011 ... The 1991 meeting was broadcast live on ESPN as a “midnight” game in the 49ers old “Mine Shaft.”
Last time out against Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Nov. 22, 2011) – ETSU junior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) sank a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the corner, lifting the ETSU men’s basketball team to a dramatic 70-69 win over Atlantic 10 Conference foe Charlotte Tuesday evening inside Halton Arena. ... Having rallied from a 10-point second half deficit, the Buccaneers (3-1) found themselves down by two points with Charlotte’s DeMario Mayfield going to the line for two free throws with 12 seconds left. Mayfield missed both those attempts, allowing ETSU senior guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.) to grab the rebound and giving the Bucs one last chance. ... Sollazzo advanced the ball and found fellow senior Tommy Hubbard (Boston) on the right wing. Instead of driving to the basket for a potential tying score, Hubbard penetrated into the lane and decided to pass to Jones in the corner. The left-handed shooter took care of the rest, finding the bottom of the basket. ... Along with Jones’ heroics, the Bucs got a game-high 26 points from junior guard Marcus Dubose (Hartsville, S.C.), while senior forward Isiah Brown (Miami, Fla.) netted 16 points and Hubbard finished with 14 points. ... In the first half, ETSU’s defensive pressure was again impressive in the early going, forcing nine turnovers in the first nine minutes and helping give the Bucs the lead for the first seven minutes of action. Unfortunately for ETSU, the Bucs had their own turnover troubles in the first half and that allowed Charlotte to stay in the game, and finish the first half with a 31-26 edge. ... In the second half, ETSU opened things with a 6-0 run to take the lead at 32-31. However, Charlotte answered with its own 12-4 run to make it 43-36 with 13:30 left in the game. The Bucs would not go away, however, as they manufactured an 18-6 run to take the lead at 58-56 with 4:01 left in the game. ... From there, both teams hit multiple shots and either traded the lead or tied the game five times in the final minutes.
Last time out
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 2, 2013) – Freshman guard A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) scored a game-high 27 points in his first career start, and the ETSU men’s basketball team used a 30-6 offensive run at the start of the second half to drop Mars Hill 119-83 on Homecoming Saturday in front of 3,208 fans at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ... The Buccaneers scored 70 points in the second half and shot 58 percent from the floor as they wrapped up preseason play with a perfect 2-0 record, while averaging 118.5 points per contest. ... Indeed, despite their second-straight lop-sided win, the Bucs did allow 83 points for the second game in a row, and the Lions shot a very respectable 47 percent from the floor on the night. ETSU has now played man-to-man for the entirety of its two exhibition games. ... The Lions gave the Bucs quite a challenge throughout the first half and actually led by as many as nine at 19-10 with 13:01 left before the intermission. However, from that point the Bucs went on a 24-4 run to regain the lead and never relinquished the advantage the rest of the game. ... Along with Merriweather’s game-high 27 points and seven rebounds, the Bucs also got double digit scoring from sophomore guard Lester Wilson (Knoxville) with 17 points and senior post Hunter Harris (Nashville) with 12, while senior forward Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard (Georgetown, S.C.) and freshman guard Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.) added 10 each. ... ETSU forced Mars Hill into 36 turnovers and grabbed 20 steals on the night, while out-rebounding the Lions 42-33. The Bucs also outscored Mars Hill 46-11 on points off turnovers, while holding a 62-32 advantage on points in the paint.
Young Bucs still face obstacles with experience
The last two seasons, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow has faced the challenge of developing a roster with minimal experience ... As the 2013-14 Buccaneers begin play, Bartow is once again looking at a team with several new faces and limited playing time ... In all, the Bucs return just six players who saw time on the floor last sesaon, while there are a total of seven newcomers to the program ... When counting the entire 15-man roster, the Bucs have a total of just 11 varsity seasons between the team for an average of less than a season per player ... The most experienced player on the team is fifth-year senior Lukas Poderis (Port Richey, Fla.), but he is returning from an injury which made him miss the entire 2012-13 campaign.
Merriweather, Riley and Harris standout in exhibition games
Freshmen A.J. Merriweather (Jackson, Tenn.) and Devin Harris (Tampa, Fla.), along with JuCo transfer Jalen Riley (Racine, Wisc.) made significant impressions during the Bucs’ two exhibition games ... Merriweather’s numbers were the most guady, as he averaged 22 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 steals in just 21 minutes per game ... Meanwhile, Harris averaged 7.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in the games against Milligan (10/29) and Mars Hill (11/2), while Riley finished with 12.5 points and 2.0 rebounds per contest.
Rembert hoping to stay hot as 2013-14 season begins
Junior guard Rashawn Rembert (Tampa) has made the most of his increased playing time over the last two seasons, having made a 3-pointer in 29 straight games dating back to last season ... Last season, Rembert ranked fourth in the A-Sun in 3-point field goal percentage at 39.7 percent for the year. ... This year, Rembert has shown signs of expanding his offensive productivity, as he averaged 21.0 points per game in the Bucs’ exhibitions against Milligan (10/29) and Mars Hill (11/2) ... In fact, he put up a stunning 33 points on nine made 3-pointers in the win over Milligan.
Bucs have tradition of postseason appearances, success
The ETSU men’s basketball team has enjoyed its share of postseason success and ranks as one of the nation’s most prestigious basketball programs ... The Buccaneers have earned berths to the NCAA Tournament nine times (1969, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010) and NIT twice (1983, 2007) ... In 2011, the Bucs made their first ever appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, winning twice and advancing to the semifinals of that event ... It was the program’s 12th postseason tournament appearance all-time.
Shuffling starters the “new normal” for Bucs
Last season, ETSU head coach Murry Bartow used 17 different starting lineups in the team’s 32 games ... Injuries and dismissals left the ETSU’s coaches searching for the right combination all season. ... Bartow hopes to find more stability with his rotation in 2013-14.
Three-point streak for Bucs dates back nearly 20 years
Since Feb. 16, 1987 in a game against Davidson, the Bucs have made at least one 3-pointer in 794 consecutive games. ... ETSU was 0-for-8 in that 1987 game.
ESPN names Wilson to nation’s Top 25 freshmen list
While circumstances forced the ETSU men’s basketball team to struggle last season, talented redshirt freshman forward Lester Wilson (Knoxville) gave the Buccaneers reason for hope. ... Wilson, who is averaged 13.0 points per game, was listed as one of the Top 25 freshmen in college basketball by ESPN hoops writer John Gasaway. The list – which included players such as UNLV’s Anthony Bennett, UCLA’s Jordan Adams, Michigan’s Nik Stauskas and Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon – had Wilson ranked at No. 25. ... Wilson has posted six 20-plus point games so far this season.
ETSU picked among nation’s best “Prestige” programs
In the modern era for NCAA Division I-A basketball – marked by the expansion of the NCAA Tournament field to 64 teams in 1984-85 – the ETSU men’s basketball program ranks in the Top 30 percent of the 300 programs that were eligible for the postseason at that time, this according to ESPN.com’s “Prestige” ranking released back in 2008 ... Since that time, the Bucs have only added to their list of prestigious honors … The Bucs -- who have enjoyed nine NCAA trips, one NIT and one CIT berth, 14 20-win seasons, and a slew of conference regular season and tournament championships since 1984-85 -- ranked tied for 82nd out of 300 teams, meaning they were in the Top 27 percent of schools making the list. ETSU was ranked ahead of every current Atlantic Sun team, as well as former SoCon rivals Appalachian State, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro. In addition, at that time the Bucs ranked ahead of SEC schools such as Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia, Mississippi and Auburn, as well as programs such as Notre Dame, DePaul, Bradley, Clemson and Fla. State.